The digital elevation model of Ecuador represented in this data set was produced from over 40 individual tiles of elevation data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). Each tile was downloaded, converted from its native Height file format (.hgt), and imported into a geographic information system (GIS) for additional processing. Processing of the data included data gap filling, mosaicking, and re-projection of the tiles to form one single seamless digital elevation model.
For 11 days in February of 2000, NASA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) flew X-band and C-band radar interferometry onboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor. The mission covered the Earth between 60?N and 57?S and will provide interferometric digital elevation models (DEMs) of approximately 80% of the Earth's land mass when processing is complete. The radar-pointing angle was approximately 55? at scene center. Ascending and descending orbital passes generated multiple interferometric data scenes for nearly all areas. Up to eight passes of data were merged to form the final processed SRTM DEMs. The effect of merging scenes averages elevation values recorded in coincident scenes and reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the amount of area with layover and terrain shadow effects.
The most significant form of data processing for the Ecuador DEM was gap-filling areas where the SRTM data contained a data void. These void areas are a result of radar shadow, layover, standing water, and other effects of terrain, as well as technical radar interferometry phase unwrapping issues. To fill these gaps, topographic contours were digitized from 1:50,000 - scale topographic maps which date from the mid-late 1980's (Souris, 2001). Digital contours were gridded to form elevation models for void areas and subsequently were merged with the SRTM data through GIS and remote sensing image-processing techniques.
The data contained in this publication includes a gap filled, countrywide SRTM DEM of Ecuador projected in Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) Zone 17 North projection, Provisional South American, 1956, Ecuador datum and a non gap filled SRTM DEM of the Galapagos Islands projected in UTM Zone 15 North projection. Both the Ecuador and Galapagos Islands DEMs are available as an ESRI Grid, stored as ArcInfo Export files (.e00), and in Erdas Imagine (IMG) file formats with a 90 meter pixel resolution. Also included in this publication are high and low resolution Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files of topography and landforms maps in Ecuador. The high resolution map should be used for printing and display, while the lower resolution map can be used for quick viewing and reference purposes.